Read Exodus 38
Focus on verse 8
A word, or group of words is best understood within a context. I cannot think of a single instance where I have heard a word used without a context. I can think of many examples where words have been understood in a mistaken context, but one might go so far as to suggest that without a context, a word loses most, if not all its meaning.
When it comes to biblical interpretation, the words we read in the Old and New Testament were written in a culture vastly different than our own. In many cases there are enough similarities that we can correctly understand what is meant by the words we read, but in some cases it is essential to determine what the original context was in order to correctly understand how to correctly interpret the words that are written.
In today’s reading I came across this…
He made the basin of bronze and its stand of bronze, from the mirrors of the ministering women who ministered in the entrance of the tent of meeting. (v. 8)
…and I’m thinking – how did he make a bronze basin out of glass? After a little hunting around I found a commentary that points out that in those days the women used polished brass for mirrors, and of course then it makes perfect sense.
When we do not take the time and effort to put what we read in the Old Testament into an Old Testament “context” we can at times be stumped or led astray from the intended meaning of the text. Once the context is established and understood, most often the problematic text makes more sense.
This can often be a valuable principle in every day communication as well. I cannot recall a time in recent history when it has been more important to locate and validate the context of what one hears or sees in the media. Technology has made it possible to edit video and audio clips of political leaders in ways that make it sound like they are saying something which, in the context of its origin makes sense, but outside of that context means something very different to people not aware of that context. Social media as well as mainstream media have used this technique to malign and slander individuals and groups they oppose. This misinformation of people has resulted in a nation deeply divided over ideology that for the most part is not nearly as mainstream as it might appear. Time after time the public has discovered that what the media presented as fact has turned out to be false.
In this climate of deception many people have become very skeptical of everything they hear. Interestingly, the truth continues to prove itself as everything eventually comes out in the wash. Ultimately, the Truth will prevail. Those who choose to believe the deception will be disappointed, while those who cling to the Truth will be vindicated… of this we can be certain.